How to Be Happy:
Welcome to all our new subscribers, and thank you
to all who have been passing our newsletter along to
family and friends. Referrals are the best way to grow
your business. Many of my clients have developed creative
and effective ways to ask for referrals and seeking
referrals can be fun and rewarding. How can I help you
grow your business? Is now the time to begin working
with a coach?
There is more information about coaching on my web site
Happiness is something I think
all of us are seeking and find it most rewarding.
Happiness is a choice. This month I want to take a
few moments and share some thoughts on happiness.
3 Proven Steps
Why do some people always seem happy, and others not?
Is it really a question of life circumstances? Are they happy
because their life is better, because they have more luck,
and they just don't have as many worries and upsets?
Or is it more a question of disposition, their nature, and
character? Since luck happens to us all, just as taxes, health
and family problems do, could it be that some people are genetically
wired to be happy no matter what?
People who are highly satisfied with their lives are less
likely to have psychological or social problems, less likely
to get sick or be stressed out, and more likely to do well
Hard-wired for Happiness?
Current research reveals that mood and temperament have a
large genetic component. In a 1996 study, University of Minnesota
psychologists David Lykken and Auke Tellegen surveyed 732
pairs of identical twins and found them closely matched for
adult happiness, regardless of whether they'd grown up together
or apart. Such findings suggest that while we all experience
ups and downs, our moods revolve around the emotional baselines
or "set points" we're born with.
But even if we have an inherited range of happiness, are
there some tools that we can learn in order to become happier
and more satisfied with life?
In an attempt to understand and quantify the state of "subjective
well-being" (lab-speak for happiness), a new question
emerges: How many positive vs. negative experiences must people
have before they can call themselves genuinely "happy"?
The Little Things that Count
The general consensus of current research is that happiness
is greatest when we combine frequent numbers of good experiences
with a few very intense ones. To feel happy, focus on the
frequency, not the intensity, of positive events in our lives.
Learning how to take pleasure in little victories, recognizing
their importance in our lives, and working hard to minimize
negatives will accomplish more than waiting around for a burst
of intense pleasure.
The Control Factor
Happiness also means that you believe you contribute to events-
that you play a major role in the things that happen to you.
Such a sense of mastery over both the good and bad events
in your life is essential to an overall sense of well-being
(Reich, J., & Diener, E., Psychology Today, "The
Road to Happiness", July 1994).
Scientists have been studying what makes people happy for
several decades now, however, the internet has made possible
even more studies, as people all over the world can access
and complete surveys. Many surveys can be found for free at
Positive psychology researchers Dr. Nansook Park, Dr. Christopher
Peterson and Dr. Martin Seligman have been studying 24 character
strengths in depth, and are looking at the role of individual
strengths in creating subjective feelings of happiness.
Five Key Strengths
A study with more than 4000 participants revealed that five
key strengths-gratitude, optimism, zest, curiosity, and
the ability to love and be loved- are more closely and
consistently related to life satisfaction than the other strengths.
A very compelling reason to give special attention to these
five key strengths is that each strength on the list is, by
definition, mutable and can be learned. We can all become
more grateful, optimistic, zestful, curious, and loving
if we are willing to make a concerted effort to do so.
Dr. Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology,
did a controlled experiment in which 575 participants were
given either an exercise or a placebo (an innocuous task having
no affect). They were measured on their perceived feelings
of happiness and life satisfaction after one week, one month
and three months.
There is now good scientific evidence that three specific
interventions can make people lastingly happier and can lastingly
reduce depressive symptoms. Here are the interventions that
successfully raised levels of happiness in participants:
Intervention 1: The Gratitude Visit
Volunteers were asked to write and present a letter of gratitude
to someone they have never properly thanked.
Intervention 2: Three Good Things
Those who received this exercise were asked to write down
three good things (big or small) that happened during the
day every night for one week. Next to each, individuals addressed
the question, "Why did this good thing happen?"
Intervention 3: Using Your Top Strengths
Individuals were asked to take the Values in Action Signature
Strengths Survey, (www.authentichappiness.org),
write down their top five strengths. In addition, volunteers
received detailed instruction about how to use these strengths
in new ways every day for one week.
One month (for all) and three months later (for Three Good
Things and Using Your Top Strengths), people were significantly
happier and less depressed.
Coaching for Happiness
Online happiness surveys can create self-awareness and enhance
your ability to experience more happiness and life satisfaction.
Even more effective is using these tools with a professional
coach. Your coach can help you to develop gratitude,
and awareness of strengths. With your coach, you can
discover ways to effectively use your strengths in new
These three keys are essential tools in achieving
lasting happiness, and ultimately greater health and life
Here are a few questions to
ask yourself and then share in your next coaching session.
Thanks again, for sharing this with your friends and family.
- When have I been the happiest?
- What makes me happy?
- What are my 5 greatest strengths?
- How can I use these strengths to be happy?
forward this to one of your friends,
so they can become a subscriber by going to my web site
coachpinney.com and signing up.